What commodities crisis? Rio Tinto posts healthy third quarter results with more iron but less salt

Sam Layton
Pretty pleased: Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Wash (Source: Getty)

Miners may have been hit be the global commodities crisis in recent money, but here's one which is doing alright: global miner Rio Tinto posted a 17 per cent rise in third-quarter iron ore shipments today.

The world’s second-biggest mining company reported iron ore shipments of 91.3m tonnes, on track to meet its 340m end-of-year target.

The figure, up from 303m tonnes last year, would have been even higher - but it was hit by "weather-related disruptions".

But the news isn't all rosy - Rio Tinto 's share price has been hit by falling metal, energy and commodity prices, with nearly 20 per cent of its value wiped off this year alone. Today, shares were down almost 0.5 per cent in mid-afternoon trading, at 2,501.5p.

In the last four years, iron ore prices alone have dropped 75 per cent as growth in China's steel industry slowed, forcing miners to lower costs.

Read more: Rio Tinto sales tumble as tough commodities market continues

One of the world’s biggest salt suppliers, Rio Tinto also plans to cut back on its salt production as a result.

“Salt production in the first nine months of 2015 was lower than the same period of 2014 as a result of weaker demand,” the company said in a statement.

The London-listed company also expects a reduced diamond output of 18m carats this year, down from 20m carats last year.

The cutback is thought to have been influenced by growing Chinese demand for smaller, more affordable jewellery.

But the figures suggest 2015 will be a strong year for the company.

"Rio’s results were generally strong and essentially in-line with our expectations," said Yuen Low, equity research analyst at Shore Capital Stockbrokers.

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